UK ranked second-to-last for power flexibility in Europe

14th November 2019


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A new index has ranked the UK eighth out of nine northern European countries for attracting and facilitating investment in electricity system flexibility.

Only France performs worse in the Energy Transition Readiness Index, which assesses countries' regulation, market access, deployment of enabling technologies, and social and political support for the energy transition.

The UK scores poorly for its regulatory and market framework, with the index also highlighting potential difficulties accessing the distribution network, and a lack of progress delivering smart electric vehicle charging.

“Decarbonising power means delivering flexibility,“ said Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Association for Renewable Energy & Clean Technology (REA), which published the index.

“In a world of very low-cost variable renewable electricity generation, grids need to be organised differently and some services which were once taken for granted need to be actively procured.

“Crucially, as renewable power prices fall around the world every country will be experiencing the same shift. If Britain becomes a flexibility pioneer, then a whole world of markets for exporting our products and services opens up.“

The Netherlands topped the ranking of nine countries, which is shown below:

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The researchers said that high-scoring countries typically have regulatory arrangements and market rules that allow a wide range of distributed flexibility resources to participate in a variety of markets.

These nations also have a grid network that is easily able to integrate new technologies such as smart meters, while lower-scoring countries do not have this digital infrastructure.

There is also a clear public acceptance of the need for an energy transition in high-performing countries, along with a strong political commitment to reach a zero-carbon economy.

Dr Skorupska said of the UK: “Whilst this index shows we're lagging behind, there's still time to bounce back.

“That's why the REA is calling for the next government to address the barriers to flexibility by delivering wholesale systems change and reform Ofgem as a priority.

Image credit: ©Shutterstock

Graphic credit: REA

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